The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘The Euphoria Is Fading’

Posted on | February 1, 2011 | 16 Comments

So says Donald Douglas at American Power, whose initial optimism about democraticization in Egypt has been tempered by evidence that the anti-Mubarak protesters are influenced byIslamic radicalism, and that a post-Mubarak Egypt is therefore likely to be anti-Israel and anti-American.

“Likely,” I say, and to say that is not to suggest the Egyptian unrest will certainly or immediately turn Cairo into Tehran-on-the-Nile. We must keep in mind that the enormous prestige of Egypt’s military remains a brake on any ambition of the radicals to turn these protests into a sequel of the Iranian revolution.

Nevertheless, the potential for such a development cannot be casually dismissed and, in this regard, Israel is still the canary in the Middle Eastern coal mine. Professor Douglas links to a Jerusalem Post editorial pointing out that Egypt’s military is armed with “the most advanced American-made technologies” and that, should a revolution bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power, “a sometimes reluctant ally . . . would be transformed into a bellicose foe.”

This should cause concern if you happen to notice the Egyptian military’s rather soft attitude toward the protesters:

As I write, it’s now nearly 8 p.m. in Cairo and, last time I looked at the TV, protesters were still in the streets there, in defiance of the official 3 p.m. curfew. (“The BBC’s Jim Muir says that hours after dusk and despite a theoretical [3 p.m.] curfew the square is still full of people.”)

You are advised to read Daniel Oliver’s American Spectator column about President Obama’s sloppy thinking in this crisis. Those who remember the Carter administration’s foreign policy may note the resemblance.

My first post about the Egyptian protests, on Thursday, included this antique warning about over-optimistic enthusiasms toward revolutionary developments:

“The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints.”
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Of course, the situation may yet resolve itself in such a way as to assuage these concerns, but in the meantime we would be wise to avoid euphoria.

UPDATE: This is not encouraging:

The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.

Ed Morrissey seems placidly resigned to the inevitability of all this. We’ll wait until the ever-pessmistic Allahpundit comes on duty to get the Fear and Loathing in Cairo version of the story.

UPDATE II: Mubarak Expected to Announce He Will Step Aside; Army Chief May Be Successor.


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